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'I never said I was perfect...' - Cork camogie player Ashling Thompson on learning lessons and moving on

It’s been a rough year-and-a-half for Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson, ending in her pleading guilty to assault last month. While acknowledging her regrets, she tells Emily Hourican she believes the media behaved like ‘bullies’, and is determined to move on, with new opportunities ahead of her and a new approach

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Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

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Ashling Thompson for Life magazine. Photo: Kip Carroll

The last time I met Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson - winner of four All Irelands with Cork and three with her club, Milford GAA - back in 2016, she told me she felt like she was "made of steel". Today, it's a different story. She looks a little weary, a little pale. She has been, she says, "through the wringer for the last year-and-a-half". By which she means since February of last year, when two separate incidents on the same night in a Cork nightclub led to her pleading guilty to assault and being ordered, last month, to pay a total of €6,000 to cover charitable donations and the expenses of the two female victims in the case, neither of whom, the court was told, had sought significant medical attention for their injuries.

Once the €6,000 is paid, the case will, according to the judge, "... disappear. No convictions. It disappears in to a fog. There is no probation act. No strike out."

It is, therefore, the end of a harrowing 15 months for Ashling, and she is determined that it will be just that: the end - the drawing of a line under this stage of her life. "I'm glad to have it behind me," she says. "It's a bump in the road and I need to learn from it, and I need to move on, because otherwise I'm going to be stuck at a crossroads. Obviously it's an extremely tough time at the moment, but I have coping mechanisms from previous traumas, on how to deal with it. I'm not saying it's easy. It's not a walk in the park - there's a lot of things that come with this, emotionally. But you've either got to move on, start afresh, or you could dwell on the past.


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